Kenneth Kosgei of Salem won the Corvallis Half Marathon Sunday with a time of 1:05:39.6 — a time that is nearly a minute faster than anyone has ever run the race before.
Race director Blair Bronson said the course was slightly different this year than in the past so the winning time was always going to be a course record.
“But he annihilated anything we’ve had out here before,” Bronson said.
The previous record fastest time anyone had posted in the Corvallis Half Marathon was Craig Leon’s time of 1:06:36 in 2012.
Kosgei, originally from Kenya, said the race was nearly a personal record for him. Kosgei, 35, said he thinks he could have achieved his personal best time if he’d had someone to run with him to push him a bit more.
Second place finisher Vincent Hamilton, of Spokane, posted a time of 1:08:35.5, nearly three minutes behind Kosgei.
Kosgei said he liked the course for its nice easy hills and said the weather was perfect for the race.
“I think this is a nice course,” he said.
He added that he’s not running as part of a team.
“I came here to prepare for the Boston Marathon next year,” he said.
Kari Hamilton, whose is married to Vincent Hamilton, was the women’s champion at the event with a time of 1:17:26.6.
Kari Hamilton said she and her husband are preparing for the Lilac Bloomsday run in Spokane the first weekend in May and they competed in the Corvallis Half Marathon because it fit well into their training schedule. She added that as a collegiate runner she competed in track events at Oregon State University and she likes Corvallis, so the race was an excuse to visit.
“It was beautiful,” she said of the course. “There’s a part on a bike path where it overlooks the hills, just really gorgeous.”
Kari Hamilton said the conditions were perfect for the race, with no wind or rain and cool temperatures.
Bronson said this year’s iteration of the Corvallis Half Marathon went well. The event had more than 950 entrants. The associated Corvallis 5 Kilometer race Saturday had more than 300 participants, which Bronson said was a record.
He added that the course wasn’t affected by recent flooding, and since Highway 34 has been reopened travel for out-of-town runners wasn’t limited. However, he said he did have many emails and calls from people concerned the race would be cancelled during the floods.
“There was no flood impact on the race, except for the flood of emails I had to answer,” he said.
Bob Hazleton, with the race sponsoring Rotary Club of Corvallis After 5, said last year the event raised around $20,000 for charity, and the group hopes to raise a similar amount this year.
Proceeds from the event support the Linn Benton Food Share, Chintimini Wildlife Center, and the Sick Town Derby Dames. Hazleton added that the club also pays groups that send some of the roughly 300 volunteers needed to run the event, so the money raised has a wider impact in the community.
Hazleton said over the years the event has pumped more than $300,000 into the community.